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TECHNICAL - Page 5

Animation

Animation is typically controlled by turning things on and off.

This is normally done by JMRI/Jython scripts but many animations can also be activated from fascia switches on the layout, so be careful not to stand too close!

Things that can be turned on and off include lighting, sounds, motors, relays, and sensors, among others. A Decoder Relay Board (below) is also used to operate a real telegraph sounder.

Decoder Relay Board (DRB) - This is widely used on the layout to turn things on and off. It consists of a mobile decoder which drives DPDT relays (with a low-current coil and 5 amp contacts) from its function outputs,

The DRB is based on the use of small DPDT relays with a coil current in the range of 43 - 65 mA at 12 volts and contacts rated at about 5 amps (way more than needed for animations and sound).

Each function output (on a Digitrax DH126 mobile decoder) can provide up to 100 mA of current and relays on this type of board typically draw 43 mA. Some small relays can consume more current so care must be taken not to exceed the limits set by the decoder manufacturer. Relays of about 60 - 65 mA coil current are acceptable.

When inductive devices (like a relay) are used with a mobile decoder, it is advisable to put a small diode across the coil because, when the relay releases, it can create a back current which could damage the decoder. The proper way to connect such a diode is shown below.

Motors - Some animation devices use low voltage motors to provide continuous motion. Examples of these include a rotating stating rink, an automatically reversing cable car, a children's playground roundabout, an automobile showroom turntable, and many rides in the historical park. Some of these devices are controlled using the motor outputs of a mobile decoder mounted under the layout. The decoder may be one which is also used for DRBs or it may be dedicated to a single purpose. Some motorized devices operate only from switches mounted in the layout fascia.


Some of the animations and special effects on RHJ Rail include the following:

- All Aboard! calls at four stations
- Back-lighted mountains in the west
- Burning building with attending emergency vehicles and flashing lights
- Cable car at mountain winter village
- Children's playground with teeter-totter and roundabout
- Christmas Holiday Train and stage car with music and lighting
- Church with funeral bells
- Church with wedding bells
- Circus band wagon playing band music
- Evening sounds featuring frogs croaking at dusk
- Fire station alarm with siren, emergency lights and traffic lights
- Gazebo with inside lights and beep-bop music
- Illuminated moon rising in the east
- Late-night honky-tonk bar with lights and music
- Merry-go-round with animation, music and lights
- Model T Ford car trying to start
- Movie theatre with flashing sign
- Multi-track railway crossings with signals and bells
- Photographer with flash camera
- Platform lights at main station
- Police helicopter dropping onto Tim Horton's for doughnuts
- Railroad signals
- Rides, lights and music at Arrow Park Historical Village
- Santa car with lights and Santa going back-and-forth as the car travels the layout
- Skating rink with lighting, animation and music
- Telegraph messages received at five different locations
- Trackmobile shunting grain car in the Mills district
- Various full-length musical selections, some seasonally appropriate
- Wolves howling in the mountains

More are being added all the time.

continued on Technical - Page 6

More details on any of the above can, of course, by obtained by contacting RHJ Rail.


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RHJ Rail is owned and operated by Richard H. Johnson
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